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SMC Tennis: Belles to face 2 tough teams

Ellyn Michalak | Friday, March 30, 2007

After winning its second conference match Monday against Calvin to stay undefeated in the MIAA, Saint Mary’s will compete this weekend against two quality teams in the Wheaton Invitational. The Belles will travel today to Wheaton, Ill., to first face the Wheaton College Thunder. The following day the Belles will vie for a win against the Olivet Nazarene Tigers. In 2006, the Belles’ went 1-1 in the invitational, losing to the top-ranked Thunder and defeating the Tigers. “This year we expect to give Wheaton a better match,” Belles coach Dee Stevenson said. “Wheaton is pretty good so we will definitely have to play up to our potential.”Wheaton went undefeated in the fall at the Division III level and has yet to lose a match this spring. The Thunder also boast two undefeated singles players – All-American sophomore Jordan Hook and sophomore Brittney Dunn – and an undefeated doubles duo of Dunn and junior Shannon Hale. Still, Stevenson expects his team to perform well and plans to approach the match with a positive disposition. “You can never go into anything with a negative attitude because then you are always beat before you start,” he said. Olivet Nazarene also owns a strong fall record of 10-1. Entering the spring season ranked No. 21 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Atheletics Poll, the team has yet to play because of weather conditions postponing its matches. Stevenson plans to play his normal lineup with senior captain Kelly McDavitt in the No. 1 singles spot and freshman Camille Gebert playing in the No. 2 spot. Together the undefeated duo will compete in No. 1 doubles position. “It should be good match-play experience,” McDavitt said of the Wheaton Invitational. “We are going to learn a lot because they are both good teams. We are planning to work on our skills this weekend and get ready for our next conference match.”The Belles’ first match of the invitational will be tonight at 7, while the second match will start Saturday at 4 p.m.